Mavericks ride fast start to rout of Westminster

Colorado Mesa’s Moshe Perez controls the ball Wednesday night in the Mavs’ 6-0 victory over Westminster at Walker Field. Perez scored the first goal of the game and added an assist for Mesa.

Forty-nine seconds.

That’s all it took for the Colorado Mesa men’s soccer team to turn the page on Sunday’s 3-1 loss to CU-Colorado Springs.

Little did the Mavericks know that when goalkeeper Briley Guarneri called for the ball to be played back to him in the opening minute Wednesday night so they could organize their attack, it would lead to a 6-0 rout of Westminster College.

“I thought the things we worked on in training (Tuesday) showed today,” said CMU coach Todd Padgett, who called the opening goal a “dream start.”

“We were struggling having some consistent defensive shape and I thought we fixed that today. We were struggling with the balance offensively, when to look and expose somebody from behind, but also maintaining what we like to do with those short passes and building up the field.”

Guarneri played the ball to Slater Elkind, who sent it to Colton Ladyga at midfield. His long chip shot up the field allowed Moshe Perez to run onto the ball and just like that, he beat Westminster keeper Sean Speirs from the right wing.

About a minute and a half later, Kevin Del Mazo scored off a rebound after Speirs deflected a shot by Perez.

“We talked about in the locker room before the game, we had to come out with all we had,” said Del Mazo, who added another goal three minutes into the second half. “We can’t afford to drop any more games, so the whole team got up and we came out and performed.”

Del Mazo’s sixth of the season came from the left wing, skipping past Speirs into the back corner.

We’ve been lacking sometimes these last couple of games,” Del Mazo said. “We score one and then kind of lay back. We knew we had to keep going, and you saw it until the final minute, we were pushing and attacking.”

Malik Mennana was on the scoring end of some terrific ball movement in the attacking third for a 4-0 lead, taking a pass from Perez in the middle of the box and scoring in the 62nd minute.

Then it was time for the young guys to get on the sheet, with redshirt freshman Niall Shaffery connecting two minutes after Mennana’s goal for his first college goal. It was a nice reward for the Mavs’ starting midfielder, who helped control the ball in transition and aided the defense in allowing only two shots on goal each half.

“It was a great feeling,” Shaffery said. “I’ve gotten some goals in the spring but that was the first one in the fall to get a real goal. It felt phenomenal.”

With the clock winding down, redshirt freshman Ken Dizon sped down the field for a through pass to the middle from Taka Kosins, yet another redshirt freshman, for his first goal with 34 seconds remaining.

Several starters were pulled in the second half in preparation for their long bus trip to play South Dakota Mines on Friday, their third game in a six-day span, two on the road.

Guarneri got his first time off in goal all season when he was replaced by freshman Rhett Cook with 3:18 to play. Cook responded with a terrific diving save.

The six goals were twice as many as the Mavericks (10-2-1, 6-2-1 RMAC) have scored in any game this season.

“We haven’t buried teams at all this year,” Shaffery said. “That’s the first time we did it.”


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